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1. Women Safety In India

1.1. Women safety in India

  • Women safety involves various dimensions such as Sexual harassment at workplace, rape, marital rape, dowry, acid attack etc.

  • The United Nation's 'Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces' programme, which started in 2010, recognized that cities all around the world were becoming unsafe for women.

  • The latest NCRB data for the year 2016 shows that o Overall crimes against women have risen by just about 3%, whereas incidents of rape have gone up by 12%.

  • Majority of cases categorized as crimes against women were reported under ‘Cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (32.6%). This draws a bleak picture of women safety in private places or home.

1.2. Challenges in addressing women safety

Common reasons for failure to report safety concerns

  • Lack of understanding: Most women perceive that the behavior is not serious enough for them to take the next step and complain.

  • Lack of faith in complaint process: as they think the process can be embarrassing & difficult.

  • Social stigma: Fear of being looked down upon in the society.

  • Fear of retaliation: by the harasser.

  • Fear of repercussions in promotions and career growth.

  • Non-inclination of family to report such incident as the offenders are known to victim most of the times.

  • Lack of reporting: It is seen as a major roadblock for creating a safe atmosphere for women.

  • Slow criminal justice system: The investigation and disposal of cases take long time thereby encourage offenders.

  • Inadequate implementation: Many employers are yet to establish Internal complaints committee which is a clear violation of law.

  • Poor gender sensitization of law enforcing agencies like police, judiciary etc.

  • Various social factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society etc. also pose a challenge.

  • Frivolous complaints: This is seen mostly in context of domestic violence act.

  • Exclusion by Technology: Technology though helpful to enhance public safety in certain ways, but its scope is limited so far as they exclude women without access to smartphones.

  • Hinders women development: For example- Sexual harassment at workplace is one of the most important causes of low labour force participation rate of women in India. Male dominated nature of India's public sphere is being recognized but not challenged.

1.3. Some steps taken by government

  • For sexual harassment at workplace - VISHAKA guidelines by Supreme Court which provide measures to be taken by employers, Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (prevention prohibition and redressal) Act 2013 by parliament, SHE Box by Ministry Of Women and Child Development for online complaint.

  • For rape cases: Proposal of Justice Verma Committee was accepted to treat juvenile between 16-18 years age as an adult for committing heinous crimes. Recently, the government has brought amendments in PoCSO act 2012 in which Rape of girl child below 12 years will be punished by death penalty

  • For domestic violence: Domestic violence act 2005 and Section 498A of IPC deals with cruelty by husband or relatives.

  • Other initiatives: SWADHAR: A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances, GPS tracking, ‘panic buttons’ etc.

  • Government is also planning to set up a dedicated National Mission on women safety to ensure specified actions by Ministries and Department

Way forward

  • Strengthening criminal justice machinery: Strict enforcement of laws, setting up of fast track special courts, strengthening of prosecution machinery, strengthening of Alternate Dispute resolution mechanism like Lok Adalat, implementing Draft National Policy for Women 2016 in letter and spirit etc.

  • Encourage women to step up and speak to the relevant committee in the organization in case of any issues such as harassment and improper conduct and situation. Women should also be trained for self-defence.

  • Gender sensitisation of the law enforcement agencies, especially the police and the judiciary through periodic training as well as instituting gender-sensitization trainings in corporates

  • Development of a community - based strategy to tackle domestic violence and community policing initiatives such as Mahila Suraksha Samiti and Women State Committee to check crimes

  • Adopting zero tolerance policy towards any form of harassment at the workplace. It should be embedded in an organization’s various policies and principles, such as the code of conduct.

  • Civil society in collaboration with all sections of society should organize several grass root movements. Many movements like ‘Pinjra Tod’ and ‘One Billion Rising’ are contributing significantly via bottom up approach for the cause of women safety.

  • Moral education: Moral overhauling of the mindset of masses should be attempted through awareness and

  • International Food Policy Research Institute

  • It was established in 1975 to provide research-based policy solutions that sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition

  • It is a research center of CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), a worldwide partnership engaged in agricultural research for development.

  • Its releases Global Food Policy Report annually.Child Stunting

  • It is defined as low height for age among children less than five-year-old education.

2. Burden Of Stunting In India

2.1. More about the research

  • The paper has tried to understand the geographical burden of stunting across districts, using data from the National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-2016).

  • Underlying causes behind various determinants of stunting

  • Poverty: It hinders the accessibility of adequate food.

  • Lack of Awareness: about nutritional needs of infants and young children.

  • Social strains on Women: Early marriages of girls leads to teenage pregnancies resulting in low birth weight of the new-borns, poor breastfeeding practices and poor complementary feeding practices.

  • Male domination: In most Indian families, women even take food after the male members where they get less nutritious food.

  • Lack of health infrastructure leads to poor access to health.

  • Lack of availability of safe drinking water hinders proper digestion and assimilation of food and also cause water and food borne diseases.

  • Poor sanitation and environmental conditions leads to spread of many diseases that sap children’s energy and stunts their growth.

  • Other causes: illiteracy in women and large household size.

  • These factors also explain differences in stunting prevalence between low and high burden districts

  • In India, 38.4% (63 million) of children under five are stunted. It accounts for about a third of the world’s total population of stunted preschoolers.

  • Stunting prevalence varies considerably across districts ranging from 12.4% to 65.1%. 239 of the 640 districts have stunting levels above 40%.

  • High‐stunting districts are heavily clustered in the northern and central states of India. They are home to 80% of the stunted children in India. In comparison, all the southern states put together account for about 13% of the stunted children in India.

2.2. Steps taken by Government

  • National Nutrition Mission with a target to bring down stunting in children from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: ICDS covers the nutrition needs of children of 6 months -6 years age, pregnant and lactating mothers.

  • Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs): special units for the treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition.

  • Other health and nutrition related schemes: Food security act, National Health Mission, Mid-Day Meal scheme, and Pradhan Mantri Surakhit Matritva Yojana.


Government needs to meet constitutional obligation under Article 47 which states that it is the “duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health”. The steps towards nutrition would also help in achievement of SDG goal 2 – “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition”.

2.3. Following steps can be taken by government:

  • Systematic data collection as lack of disaggregated stunting data at the district level has been a challenge for policy and programme strategies in a decentralized governance system.

  • Institutional mechanism: A food and nutrition commission should be established, headed by the Prime Minister.

  • Fortified foods: It can be incorporated into a mid-day meal, public distribution shops and anganwadi centres. Micronutrients should be adequately emphasised. Therapeutic feeding can be undertaken for children with severe acute malnutrition.

  • Collaboration with civil society: NGOs should be promoted to educate women about family planning and child nourishment.

  • Change in approach towards malnutrition: There is need to go beyond the current focus on health and nutrition and target social inequalities. Very high-stunting districts could eliminate 71% of the gap with low-stunting districts if they are able to improve on specific issues of gender and inequality.

3. One Stop Centres

3.1. One Stop Centre (OSC) Scheme

  • It is a sub-scheme under National Mission for Empowerment of women which is being run by Ministry of Women & Child Development.

  • It is aimed at supporting women affected by violence in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace.

  • Establishment of OSCs was one of the key component of Nirbhaya Fund. Every OSC is integrated with newly operational Women's Helpline (181).

  • The first OSC built at Raipur, Chhattisgarh has received the President's award on March 8, 2018 on the International Women's Day.

3.2. Constraints of OSC

  • Limited capacity- At present, each centre can shelter only five victims, irrespective of the size and demography of a district. They are also not equipped with required number and skills (e.g.-skilled IT staff) of staff personnel.

  • Lack of awareness- Hospitals that are required to maintain such OSCs are either unaware of the requirement to maintain or have not set up the relevant infrastructure in accordance with the guidelines that have been set in place.

Way Forward

  • Improvement in Housing Capacity & Staff Strength- Both must be increased, based on the population, crime-against-women index of a district and average no. of cases dealt by each OSC.

  • Improvement in Cyber Security Architecture- More stringent cyber security measures are required to keep the identity of the victim secret which is legally mandatory.

  • Skilling of the Staff- OSCs require skilled IT staff and case workers, and there must be reskilling of existing staff.

4. Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakaram (PMJVK)

4.1. PMJVK or Restructured MsDP:

  • It has been identified as one of the Core of the Core Schemes under National Development Agenda of NITI Aayog.

  • The programme was launched in the year 2008-09 in 90 identified Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) having at least 25% minority population.

  • It was designed to address the developmental gaps/deficits in identified backward minority concentration areas by topping up of existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Central ministries/departments without any change in the norms, guidelines and the funding pattern.

  • The projects considered are additional class rooms, laboratories, school buildings, hostels, toilets, buildings for Polytechnics, ITIs, Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres / Sub-centres, Anganwadi Centres, Rural Housing etc.

  • It also provides for taking up innovative projects which are not covered by any of the existing CSS of various ministries and these are funded in the ratio of 60:40 (90:10 for NE and Hilly States) between the Centre and States.

  • The criteria for identification of Minority Concentration Towns (MCTs) and Cluster of Villages has been rationalised and is based on 2011 census:

  • Earlier only those Towns which were found backward in terms of both in Basic Amenities and Socio-economic parameters were taken up as MCTs. Now, the Towns which were found backward in either or both of the criteria have been taken up as MCT.

  • Now the population criteria for selection of cluster of villages has been lowered to 25% population of minority community (which was earlier at least 50%).

  • Funding of the scheme would be from budgetary provision of the Ministry of Minority Affairs. The recurring/maintenance expenses will be borne by the State Government/UTs/Organization. o 80% would be earmarked for projects related to education, health and skill development.

  • 33 to 40% would be specifically allocated for women centric projects.

  • The PMJVK would now cover five more States/UTs namely Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Goa and Pondicherry (total 32 States/UTs).

  • Minority Concentration Areas of 61 districts out of 115 Aspirational districts have been covered under PMJVK.

  • Unit area of implementation has been further broadened by including Minority Concentration Districts Headquarters in addition to the minority concentration Blocks, Minority Concentration Towns and cluster of minority concentration villages.

  • The area to be covered under PMJVK would be 57% more (308 districts) as compared to the existing MsDP (196 districts).

  • Monitoring Mechanism: o An online module along with geo-tagging has been included.

  • All implementing agencies are to brought under Public Finance Management System(PFMS) and its effective use ensured to monitor fund utilization has been made in PMJVK.

5. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY)

5.1. About PMVVY

  • It has been launched by Ministry of Finance to provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% to 8.3% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / half yearly and annual basis.

  • It will enable to provide a larger social security cover to the Senior citizens (aged 60 years and above) and enable upto Rs.10,000 Pension per month for them.

  • The investment limit (purchase price) was kept between Rs 1.5 lakh and 7.5 Lakh (now 15 Lakh) per family. A loan facility is also available after completion of 3 policy years. The maximum loan that can be granted shall be 75% of the Purchase Price.

  • The deposits made in the scheme are exempt from income tax. However, the interest earned on the deposit is not exempt from income tax.

  • The scheme is implemented by LIC, and GoI compensates LIC through subsidy if return generated is less than the guaranteed return.

6. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)

​6.1 About PMMSY

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and was announced in 2003, with two components: o Setting up of AIIMS-like institutions; and

  • Up-gradation of existing State Government Medical College (GMCs)

  • It aims to correct the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular

6.2 Quality Council of India

  • It was set up jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

  • It aims to establish and operate national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign.

  • It is governed by a Council of 38 members with equal representations of government, industry and consumers.

  • Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister on recommendation of the industry to the government.

  • The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, is the nodal ministry for QCI.

7. Swachh Survekshan 2018

7.1. More about the news

  • The Swachh Survekshan survey has been launched under Swachh Bharat Mission.

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban areas and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in rural areas.

  • The Quality Council of India (QCI) is responsible for carrying out the assessment.

  • All 4041 cities were part of Swachh Survekshan-2018. 500 cities with populations more than 1 lakh have been ranked on national level while 3,541 cities with less than 1 lakh population will have State and Regional ranking.

  • The three cleanest cities as per the Survekshan 2018 are Indore, Bhopal and Chandigarh

  • Jharkhand was adjudged the best performing state, followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

  • The 2018 survey captured the progress in following 6 broad parameters

  • Collection and Transportation of Municipal Solid Waste

  • Processing and Disposal of Municipal Solid Waste:

  • Sanitation related progress

  • IEC (Information, Education and Communication)

  • Capacity Building

  • Innovation and Best Practices (Used for the first time to learn how our cities have responded the call for Make India Clean and ODF by October 2019).

  • Negative marking was also introduced this year to ensure cities do not make false claims about improvement in sanitation infrastructure.


8.1. News Hightlight of the assembly

  • The meet’s primary focus this year is universal health coverage

  • It has developed a new strategic plan for the next five years to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – with a particular focus on SDG3- ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all World Health Assembly.

  • It is the decision-making body of WHO, attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.

  • The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

  • It is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland. at all ages by 2030.

  • It sets three targets to ensure that by 2023-

  • 1 billion more people benefit from universal health coverage;

  • 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies; and

  • 1 billion more people enjoy better health and wellbeing.

  • WHO estimates that achieving this “triple billion” target could save 29 million lives.

  • Digital health resolution initiated by India was adopted as its first resolution on digital health.

  • The Assembly also adopted a resolution to help countries tackle snake bites.

9. Protocol Under Who Framework Convention On Tobacco


  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.

  • The objective of this Convention and its protocols is to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

  • India is a party to WHO FCTC.

9.1 Details of the Protocol

  • One of the key tobacco supply reduction strategies contained in Article 15 of WHO FCTC envisages elimination of all forms of illicit trade and tobacco products, including smuggling, illicit manufacturing and counterfeiting through-

  • Supply chain control measures to be adopted by the parties viz. licensing of manufacture of tobacco products and machinery for manufacturing of tobacco products, due diligence to be kept by those engaged in production, tracking and tracing regime, record keeping, security, etc.

  • The protocol lists out offences, enforcement measures such as seizures and disposal of seized products.

  • It calls for international cooperation in information sharing, maintaining confidentiality, training, technical assistance and cooperation in scientific and technical and technological matters.

May Indian Society and Issues

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